Posts Tagged ‘Spy TV’

ClandesTime 103 – MI5 Censorship of Panorama

Published March 19th 2017

In 1980 the BBC’s documentary series Panorama began developing an episode on British intelligence. This was the first of its kind, at least by such a prominent and respected series, but both the central government and the intelligence agencies were not happy. Over a period of several months they put pressure on the BBC, trying to stop the programme from being broadcast. When this failed they considered using the government veto to prevent it from airing, and ultimately ended up heavily censoring the documentary via a secret preview screening with MI5.

Top Secret File on Government Censorship of Panorama

Published March 16th 2017

In the summer of 1980 the BBC’s flagship documentary series Panorama was developing a TV special about British intelligence. This was the first film of its kind, and perhaps unsurprisingly Thatcher’s government was not happy about it. Downing Street put pressure on the film-makers via BBC Director-General Ian Threthowan, and an MI5 lawyer previewed the film and provided detailed feedback on what to remove.

‘Would Only Encourage Snickers and Derision’ – CIA Review of Screenplay for The CIA

Published February 7th 2017

In 1969 the CIA obtained a copy of The CIA, a screenplay being developed at Universal Studios, written by William Woodfield and Allan Balter. Woodfield and Balter were perhaps best known for writing the TV series of Mission: Impossible, until they had a well-publicised falling out with series creator Bruce Geller. The Agency reviewed their script for potential issues with how it depicted the CIA and also for whether it would be suitable as a training film for CIA recruits.

What Connects Jack Valenti, E Howard Hunt and The Godfather?

Published January 31st 2017

On the face of it former CIA officer, Watergate burglar and confessed JFK assassin E Howard Hunt shouldn’t have had much to do with former MPAA president Jack Valenti. They both served in WW2 (Hunt in the OSS, Valenti in the Army Air Forces) and both died in 2007. They may both have been present at the John Kennedy assassination. Then there is that special screening of The Godfather.

‘All my projects are merging’ – CIA emails on Covert Affairs

Published January 25th 2017
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Covert Affairs was a not particularly original spy series telling the tale of an attractive young woman who is thrust into the world of CIA black operations. It lasted for five seasons, mostly because it starred Piper Perabo and people like Piper Perabo. Perabo’s character Annie Walker is loosely based on real life ex-CIA officer Valerie Plame, Perabo visited Langley, and recently released CIA emails show that the series had assistance from the Agency themselves.

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